A few more election leftovers for your Sunday dish of politics:
• It was not long ago when the pollsters at Marist College reported that nearly a third of the state's Democrats either had no opinion of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand or never heard of her.
“She hasn't developed a political identity or connected with New York voters,” Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, said back in January of 2010.
Things are different now. The senator cruised to victory over Republican Wendy Long on Nov. 6 with 72 percent of the vote. That's more than Sen. Chuck Schumer garnered (66 percent in 2010), more than Eliot Spitzer's record-setting gubernatorial election in 2006 (69 percent), and even more than President Obama's 63 percent of the statewide vote this year. In fact, Gillibrand insiders believe she set a modern-day plurality record for statewide races on Nov. 6.
Gillibrand blanketed the state with warm and fuzzy campaign ads throughout the fall, with no need to spend her $10 million campaign kitty on negative ads.
All of this is why Gillibrand's name graced a list of potential Democratic candidates for president in 2016.
• Speaking of big numbers, Comptroller-elect Stefan Mychajliw is still reveling in the approximately 184,000 votes that sent him to the Rath County Office Building. He may be over-gloating by claiming the highest vote total of any Republican in county history, but he's right up there with former big winners like Comptroller Alfreda Slominski and County Executive Ed Rutkowski.
• Countywide turnout, by the way, will probably finish at somewhere between 76 percent and 78 percent when all outstanding votes are counted, according to Republican Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr. That's exactly what he and Democratic Commissioner Dennis Ward predicted, and just about the level of presidential elections for the last three decades.
• Former Ambassador Tony Gioia of Buffalo was among the major donors to Mitt Romney's campaign who participated in a “thank you” conference call with the unsuccessful Republican candidate on Wednesday.
“He wasn't really blaming anyone, he said we just didn't do as well as we thought we were going to,” Gioia said. “There was certainly no bitterness at all.”
• The Erie County Legislature is reviewing resumes of four people as possible appointments to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority. They include Dr. Wesley L. Hicks Jr., a professor at the University at Buffalo Medical School and head and neck surgeon at Roswell Park Cancer Institute; Kevin E. Cichocki, founder and president of Palladian Health; Jeffrey M. Conrad, director of the Erie County Center for Employment Opportunities and a former South District Council member; and Margaret A. Murphy, an attorney and former Buffalo city judge first appointed to the bench by the late Mayor Jim Griffin.
The Legislature appointment to the NFTA stems from the resignation of former Commissioner Jim Eagan, who was recently elected secretary of the New York State Democratic Committee.
• Quote of the Week comes from Congressman-elect Chris Collins, who while in Washington a few days ago mistakenly found himself in a caucus room with people like Nancy Pelosi – and not John Boehner.
According to one congressional source attending, Republican Collins – breakfast plate in hand – suddenly rushed over to him and asked: “Wait … what meeting is this?” – only to be told he was in the Democratic caucus.
“Oh s***, I'm in the wrong meeting,” Collins was quoted as saying. “Where are the Republicans meeting?”
New Chief of Staff Chris Grant seems to be getting the hang of Washington spin.
“Congressman-elect Collins believes very strongly in reaching bipartisan solutions to fix this country's problems,” Grant said. “What better way to accomplish that than introducing himself to his colleagues on the other side of the aisle?”